On Tuesday 14th February, the Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow and Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Burma, Rushanara Ali met with Burmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyidaw, Burma.
During her second visit to the country in four years, Rushanara congratulated Aung San Suu Kyi on her party’s victory in 2015’s landmark democratic elections, discussed the strong ties between the United Kingdom and Burma and the need to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Burma.
Rushanara also raised serious concerns about the treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State at the hands of the military, which has cost thousands of lives. After co-ordinating a letter signed by 70 Parliamentarians to the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson MP in December last year, Rushanara communicated her concerns about the treatment of Rohingya Muslims directly to the State Counsellor.
Following the meeting Rushanara said:
“It was a great honour to be received by Aung San Suu Kyi on my recent visit to Burma. The sacrifices she made throughout her life remains an inspiration to all those committed to democracy and freedom around the world. However the attacks in October 2016, directed by the military following the killing of nine border officers, led to the displacement of 69,000 people to Bangladesh and displaced thousands more in Rakhine State. This is on top of the existing 100,000 confined to Internally Displaced Person’s Camps since the previous outbreak of violence in 2012.”
“Within Rakhine State – and indeed across many other areas of the country – there continues to be a massive humanitarian challenge as access to food, healthcare and shelter remains poor or negligible, especially in Northern Rakhine and conditions have not improved since my last visit in 2013.”
“After five decades of military rule, Burma faces a long list of serious challenges: ethnic conflicts, extreme poverty, continued human rights abuses by the military and under-development, to name just a few.”
Notes to Editors:
1) For further information or comment please contact Rushanara Ali MP’s Office on 020 7219 7200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
3) On December 7th 2016, 70 Parliamentarians signed a letter addressed to the UK Foreign Secretary urging him to intensify the Government’s pressure on the Myanmar Government following the recent escalation of violence in Rakhine. The letter can be read here. Please find the reply in the link at the bottom of the page.
4) Recent actions by the military referred to above ‘may amount to crimes against humanity’, according to the UN Human Rights Office.
5) Despite the recent historic elections in Myanmar and the subsequent transition to democracy, power of key government departments – border affairs, home affairs and defense – remain in the hands of the military, and many positions in other ministries are held by military generals.